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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Traces of nuts
More fragments today:

1. declutter_ideas. I think this may have been intended as part of a post to unclutter_2009 when I was still doing that (I gave up when we moved house because it all just became too complicated to keep track of -- we have been furiously decluttering since then anyway, but not itemising it all).

Throwing away v recycling - PLEASE RECYCLE EVERYTHING YOU CAN and if your local council doesn't accept something that other places do, write to them and ask. [make up draft letter]

"Why don't charity shops accept x y z..." - because sorting/pricing things that won't sell wastes volunteer time (ie money), and putting things out on shelves that won't sell (or won't make any significant amount of money) wastes space (ie money) and makes the shop less attractive (ie loses money).

The important thing about the decluttering is not just to get stuff out of the house but to think about how it got there. e.g. do you buy cans/bottles/jars of stuff you wouldn't normally use "because they're really cheap" rather than because you need (or even particularly want) them, & then find that they just sit there and go off (especially since they're probably only cheap in the first place because they're near the end of their shelf life)? Do you buy several of a thing "just in case" when one would do just fine? (I cite these examples because they're things I know I'm guilty of. :-)

The problem is there's two types of shopping: the sort where you work out what you need (at least roughly) and go and find it; and the sort where you wander round in a daze looking at lots of shiny things which have been packaged & presented to look appealing, and -- surprise, surprise -- you find that the billions of pounds' worth of marketing works on you as well even though you're really clever and never ever get influenced by adverts.

(I love the note-to-self of '[make up draft letter]'. I have never written to the council to tell them they ought to be recycling more things, I never get round to writing that sort of letter at all. Possibly this is part of the reason why I decided not to make such a preachy post.)

2. Another news-story-with-comment:


"Our all-or-nothing approach to meat eating leaves us with no understanding -- and little tolerance -- of the concept of a low-meat meat diet. It's awkward telling friends who know you eat meat that you'd rather have a specially prepared vegetarian option when you're invited round for dinner. It smacks of the sort of hypocritical vegetarianism that people love to sniff out and ridicule and it's much easier to just avoid the issue and eat whatever's going."

Either deal with the awkwardness, or fix the thing you *can* fix: the bits of your diet that *you* control. Saying "I can't have a low-meat diet because it's awkward telling friends" is just making excuses, unless you really eat out at friends' houses for every meal.

I know why I don't post these things; what I don't know is why I bother writing them down in the first place. Sometimes, with the responses-to-news-stories, I'm not sure why I bother thinking them: having arguments in my head with people who can't hear me just raises my blood pressure (incidentally my actual non-metaphorical blood pressure is absolutely fine, I know this because I'm getting it measured quite frequently at the moment) and wears me out. It's arguably even more pointless than posting comments on Have Your Say; at least there the idiots are probably feeling some kind of positive bond with other idiots, whereas I'm just doing the equivalent of sitting on the sofa at home on my own and shouting at the telly.

So, yeah, sorry about all these dull bits and bobs. I was going to post about making a Christmas pudding, which is what I was doing (among other things!) today, but I think I said everything interesting I can think of to say about this on last year's Stir-up Sunday. The only thing to add is that last year's pudding (which we forgot about & eventually got round to eating in February, ahem) was delicious, so I've gone for the same recipe again, but this time with the right amount of suet and with fewer bits of ancient dried fruit from the back of the cupboard. The things you leave lying around in cupboards don't get any tastier the longer you leave them. That would be the moral of this story, except that morals in stories are a bit like sixpences in puddings: an interesting idea with the weight of tradition behind it, but in practice you just break your teeth on them.

I'm just making this up as I go along. I bet you'd never have guessed.

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From: taimatsu Date: November 21st, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've got two, no, three kinds of really cheap noodles in my cupboard that have been there for ages and ages. Like, at least a year. And then there's the instant miso soup I bought and tried which was horrible but I didn't get rid of it in case I NEEDED it. It's even worse in my case as I have much less cupboard space in my kitchenette than most people have (and less still that I can actually reach), so it all means more. But I think I won't do an actual clearout until I'm paid - just so's I can be sure I don't need to eat any of that stuff :)
naath From: naath Date: November 21st, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have Too Much Stuff. But I keep going through it looking for Stuff I Don't Want To Keep and finding very little of it (always some, there's always the postal spam pile for a start). I'm not sure if this is good (I only buy things I later still like having) or bad (I like having too much stuff) but either way, it's not going in the bin just yet (or the recycling, or the charity shop).

I think the only thing I've ever wanted to de-clutter that was clearly usable-by-someone-just-not-me (as opposed to "totally broken") but couldn't be charity shopped was a fur coat I had as a child (still got it somewhere, should make use of it really). Perhaps I just never try to give strange things to charity shops.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 22nd, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure if this is good (I only buy things I later still like having) or bad (I like having too much stuff)

Well, it depends, really, why you think you have "too much" stuff. I mean, if it's getting in the way and stopping you do stuff, then it's probably bad. But since you seem to enjoy it, I'm not sure why you think it's "too much".

I'm not saying "nobody should own more than n things" -- that fragment was intended for a community of people who had already decided they wanted to reduce the amount of stuff they owned (for whatever reason). I was just trying to say (to them) that if you're trying to reduce the amount of stuff in your life, it's best to avoid acquiring things in the first place, and good to get rid of them responsibly if you're getting rid of them.

If you don't want to reduce the amount of stuff you have, & you can afford a big house to keep it all in, then, *shrug*. None of my business.
naath From: naath Date: November 22nd, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
It doesn't fit in my space ;-( and houses cost a lot more money than stuff to fill them up does. Stupid stuff.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 22nd, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
In that case, um, yes, reducing the stuff sounds like a good idea...

Don't look at each thing and think "is this a nice thing?" (which is equivalent to "if I had infinite space, would I want to keep this?") -- look at it and think "do I need/use/enjoy this enough to justify the amount of space it takes up in my unfortunately-finite house?"
naath From: naath Date: November 23rd, 2010 09:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think that's probably the thing.
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